Treasurer queries COVID-19 funds

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey has raised concerns on the use of funds for the COVID-19 operations in the country.

He said there are allegations that bulk of the 23 million kina released by the government for COVID-19 operations, was being used to hire cars and media consultants.

The 23 million Kina released by Treasury for COVID-19 operations, must be prioritized well, to include purchase of medical kits and Personal Protective Equipment.

However, Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey has since raised concerns of alleged misappropriation.

Mr Ling-Stuckey in an interview with this newsroom, revealed that a large sum of the first K23 million released, was not applied according to its intended plan, but instead spent on hire cars and media consultants.

“The funds our multilateral partners are giving to be used to help our people in the COVID-19 pandemic must be used for that purpose and nothing else.

“When the K10m was released; there was huge number of hire vehicles submitted.

“We hear all sorts of media contracts being issued out to various elements in our community and whilst it is absolutely a need for the messages to get out as recommended by the World Health organisations.

“It is also important to ask ourselves whether it is important to have media plans or hire cars or the disbursement of PPEs and medical kits,” Mr Ling-Stuckey said.  

“Isn’t it our priority to get the testing kits to provinces and to those frontliners helping in various Provincial Health Authorities?”

He said the Prime Minister has been notified of this, and a call for proper audit before government releases the balance.

The Treasurer also said the Department of Health is the Trustee and must make sure that key priority areas are funded.

This includes disbursements of PPEs and medical kits to provinces.

“We must be doing things we supposed to be doing with the money intended for use and nothing else.”

Meantime,  the Government is in the process of making available the remaining K22million of the K45m balance.

Freddy Mou